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Benlysta Shows Promise for Lupus

FDA Panel to Weigh Drug's Risks, Benefits This Week

Epratuzumab Also Shows Promise for Lupus continued...

Reduced disease activity was seen in as little as eight weeks, according to findings of the study, which tested a variety of doses of epratuzumab.

Epratuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the CD22 molecule, which is thought to be a regulator of B cells that contribute to lupus by producing antibodies against the body's own tissues. This, in turn, causes the immune system to turn on itself, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage.

Commenting on the findings, Merrill says, "This was a very important study" that tells researchers the best dose to use as they move into large-scale testing required for FDA approval.

Future research, she adds, will include finding out whether the treatment can help spare the use of steroids in patients.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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